The Ryan Giggs story is not with­out its con­tro­versy, but he

Weekend Witness - - Sport - FROM THE SPOT with Lloyd Burnard

IT is a rare enough thing find­ing a pro­fes­sional foot­baller who com­mits his en­tire ca­reer to one club, and even rarer when that ca­reer lasts longer than two decades.

Ryan Giggs turned 40 yes­ter­day, just two days af­ter play­ing 90 min­utes in a Cham­pi­ons League clash at Bayer Lev­erkusen in what is his 23rd year as a Manch­ester United first team player. What is most as­ton­ish­ing is that he re­mains ef­fec­tive, as was demon­strated by his killer as­sist to Nani in the clos­ing stages of United’s 5-0 wal­lop­ing of the Ger­mans. He has ob­vi­ously lost a yard of pace — only a yard — but his skill, vi­sion, ac­cu­racy, com­po­sure and ex­pe­ri­ence all make him an in­valu­able mem­ber of David Moyes’s squad dur­ing a cru­cial time for United.

For many of us 20-some­things, a United squad with­out Giggs has sim­ply never ex­isted. When he goes (re­tires, not dies, though at this stage it’s any­one’s guess which will come first) his loss to foot­ball and the Pre­mier League will be the equiv­a­lent of cricket and In­dia say­ing good­bye to Sachin Ten­dulkar.

He has won all there is to win at club level. His Welsh blood im­me­di­ately pre­de­ter­mined that his in­ter­na­tional hon- ours would for­ever be non-ex­is­tent — yet still Giggs finds a way to come back year af­ter year, hun­grier than ever and in im­mac­u­late con­di­tion.

No de­ci­sions have been made on next year yet, the sea­son isn’t even half way through, but Giggs has al­ways said that as long as he is in good shape and con­tribut­ing to the team, he will keep play­ing. And on Wed­nes­day night’s ev­i­dence, there seems to be a bit of gas left in the tank.

PHOTO: GETTY

The re­turn of fast bowler Mitchell John­son has given Aus­tralia a boost as they try to wran­gle the Ashes back from Eng­land.

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